Description of Battlehawks 1942
Ohh boy ! This was my first flight sim. Back then, I didn't even have a joystick, but this one really made me buy one. The whole premise for this game is simple: you are either an American or a Japanese, flying fighters, dive-bombers and torpedo bombers against the enemy.
The action can be pretty hectic sometimes. The graphics are pure 1989 16 color EGA, and the best sound hardware supported is Adlib, but even so, this game can capture one's imagination.
The only problem is unfortunately pretty annoying. As the computers going around back in 1989 were incapable of moving the large amounts of polygons needed for a flight sim, every aircraft and ship is a sprite, a 2D drawing, which changes regarding the angle of sight you have on the object.
However, the sprites are drawn in angle intervals, for example, if you were 5 degrees to the left of the 6 o'clock position of a fighter, it would draw it as if it was dead ahead of you. If you were 60 degrees from his six, it would draw it side on. This made deflection shooting (shooting ahead of the enemy plane, forcing it to fly into your bullets) very hard. Torpedoing was also difficult.
Flight modeling isn't really realistic, but gameplay is pretty furious when enemy fighters approach, and the game is fun. Even so, this is a great game, and one that deserves a place in every nostalgic flight sim fan's shelf.
The most recent game that portrayed this scenery was Microprose's 1994 1942: The Pacific Air War, an excellent game that also mixed in tactical naval ops as well as some of the best WW2 Pacific theatre aircraft modeling ever, which could be regulated to your preferences.
Review By HOTUD
Captures and Snapshots
Comments and reviews
JMK 2020-04-23 0 point Atari ST version
The game that made me buy my Atari ST.
The wet dream of a cardboard wargamer, scratch one flatop !
The Hornet mission was possible but you could not afford losing a split second, either because of bad shooting or aircraft speed. I perfectly remember the 1st time I managed to complete it.
SuperChuck1965 2018-05-17 0 point Amiga version
I had the Amiga version of this and it was awesome! Using the mouse to fly your plane was difficult at first, but once I got used to it, I got really good. I played it so much that I could consistently beat the defend the Hornet mission that was rated "impossible" You were awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor if you beat this one!
Tom 2017-11-23 0 point
I remember playing this game when I was in college. Lucasfilm Games also released a collection containing Battlehawks 1942, Battle Of Britain and Secret Weapons of the Luftwaffe too. The name of the bundle was Air Combat Classics under the Lucasarts name and it came on 3 3.5" disks. The box also stated that a trade-in option was available so perhaps that was a way to get a CD-ROM of this bundle...?
Alumni72 2017-05-20 0 point DOS version
I had this game as well - played it so many times I can't even count that high.
LucasArts also produced 2 other fantastig flight sims after this one - Battle of Britain (which had a mission creator, providing for months of variety after the original missions were complete) and Secrete Weapons of the Luftwaffe (which I never got, because it was only available on CD-ROM and at the time I couldn't afford a CD drive.
I still have the complete Battle of Britain boxed set, including the code wheel that you needed to actually play. I hope that somewhere I also have Battlehawks, but I haven't come across it lately. Time to search for it again!
Ygrek 2016-05-04 0 point DOS version
Our brain plays time-tricks with us. I cannot recollect what happened to me just a month ago, but I remember playing this BH back in 1990 as if it was just yesturday and not 25 years ago. This is how impressive this game was to me - me first "pseudo 3D" PC game. I would play it for many hours in a row almost every night while I had access to our laboratory computer when I was a student. Nostalgia.
Felix the Cat 2015-11-30 -2 points
For Amiga and Atari in 1989 a joystick was not supported, unbelievable! During the Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands you are flying a mission in a Wildcat, protecting the Hornet from a combined attack of Vals and Kates. The mission is rated "Impossible". I wonder if anyone did this misson successful? A PC486 equipped with a CH Products Flightstick was a great improvement in 1990, compared to Atari and Amiga, which of course had better sound.
handle 2014-11-20 -1 point DOS version
depending on which version this is, the manual is a complete necessity because in order to play the game you had to match up a sillouhette of a plane to a password and there were hundreds of variations, all spread out through the rather thick manual. good old primitive anti-piracy, unfortunately making the game useless unless you also got the manual with it. I think the manual is floating around somewhere online, otherwise it's one of the best flight sims made prior to the VGA era.
Alumni72 2014-08-01 0 point DOS version
Ah, yes - this was my first flight sim as well, and I absolutely loved it! I moved on to Battle of Britain when that came out, but I had no CD-ROM drive so SWOTL was out of the question.
Thanks for bringing back such memories - now I have to go searching for my floppy disks!
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